Product Review: Rival 32-ounce Hot Pot Express Vs. Chefmate 1.4 Quart Hot Pot

Not all hot pots are created equal. Together, the Rival 32-ounce Hot Pot Express and the Chefmate 1.4 quart Hot Pot are a perfect example of inequality. While they both cost about the same to buy, and share a common design, you might be surprised to find out just how different they can are. And one of them far surpasses the other.

Being college students living in a dorm room, my roommates and I have had to find creative ways of getting food to the table without the use of a stove. Our answer has been an arsenal of small appliances that has grown to include an electric skillet, and electric wok, a toaster, a toaster oven, and our most used appliance, an electric hot pot. We use our hot pot on a daily basis, usually to heat water or to boil pasta or ramen noodles.

But recently our trusty Rival 32-ounce Hot Pot Express met its end after one of us accidentally set it in the sink, allowing water to seep inside the pot’s case. One of my roommates was quick to run to the nearby Target store to pick up a replacement. He returned with the Chefmate 1.4 quart Hot Pot, and we soon put it to work. However, the results we got from the new pot were less than stellar.

One thing we immediately noticed was that the Chefmate took much longer to boil any amount of water than the Rival had before. At full capacity, it takes the Chefmate pot at least ten to twelve minutes to bring the water to a rolling boil, while it used to take our Rival only four to five minutes to accomplish the same task. Immediately, one might say this is because the Rival’s maximum capacity is 32 ounces (1 quart) while the Chefmate’s is 1.4 quarts. This is true, but I soon discovered an additional explanation. While the output of the Rival is 1000 watts, the output of the Chefmate is only 700 watts. So while the Chefmate has more water to boil, it also has less power to boil it with.

Another weakness in the Chefmate’s design was discovered by another roommate. After washing and drying the Chefmate pot, he plugged it in and flipped on the switch, only to discover that the switch did not light-up as usual. After the pot sat full of water for five minutes or so, it was clear that the light was not defective, instead the hot pot was simply not turning on. The culprit turned out to be a drop of water that had worked its way inside the switch during washing. After blowing the water out of the gap, the switch turned on and the water was eventually boiled.

While the Chefmate utilizes a simple on off switch, the Rival uses a dial that allows the user to select a variety of temperature settings. This dial never once gave us any trouble over the two year service of our Rival.

There are other differences that are also worth noting. The Rival’s heating element is small and non-stick coated, making it very easy to clean. On the other hand, the Chefmate’s element encompasses the entire bottom of the pot and is made of uncoated metal. If cooking pasta or warming soup in the pot, this may lead to more sticking. The Chefmate’s power cord is three-pronged, keeping the unit grounded, while the Rival’s cord is two-pronged and ungrounded. While this adds a margin of safety to the Chefmate, it is unnecessary if the pot is used properly. More likely than not, this feature of the Chefmate may simply make it inconvenient to plug in under some circumstances.

The Rival 32-ounce Hot Pot Express is a superior product to the Chefmate 1.4 quart Hot Pot by far. The Rival is more powerful, translating into speeds of boiling water that are faster than most stoves. The Rival also offers custom temperature selection. The Chefmate, while it can hold more water, is underpowered. This translates into long waits for boiling water. Additionally, the Chefmate only provides a problematic on-off switch rather than any sort of temperature selector.

But the most important question remains: how much do they cost? With such differences in performance and features, it might be surprising to find out that both pots cost about the same. Both are priced at around $15 each. The Chefmate can be found at Target stores while the Rival can be found at most department stores, drug stores, and supermarkets.

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